The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum in Kanchanaburi has been named as the Top Museum in Thailand and the Fifth Top Museum in Asia in listings compiled by TripAdvisor, one of the world’s leading travel websites.
Announcing the results of its Travellers’ Choice awards for museums around the globe, TripAdvisor said on its website, “The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum is a MUST for anyone visiting the Kanchanaburi area to pursue their interest in the history of the Burma-Siam Death Railway in World War II.”
Barbara Messing, Chief Marketing Officer for TripAdvisor, was quoted as saying, “Some of the world’s most significant cultural institutions are represented within the Travellers’ Choice Museums thanks to the feedback shared by millions of travellers around the world. Featuring some of the world’s finest art, scientific discoveries and historical events, these world-class attractions offer both educational and enriching experiences.”
The rankings included the top 25 museums in the world along with dedicated lists for Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, South Pacific, the U.K., and the U.S. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.
TOP 10 MUSEUMS — THAILAND
- Hellfire Pass Museum, Kanchanaburi
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Bangkok, Thailand
- Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders, Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Erawan Museum Bangkok, Thailand
- Hall of Opium Museum, Chiang Saen, Thailand
- Anek Kuson Sala (Viharnra Sien), Pattaya, Thailand
- Siriraj Medical Museum, Bangkok, Thailand
- Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Bangkok, Thailand
- Black House – Ban Si Dum – Muser Ban Dum, Chiang Rai, Thailand
- Suan Pakkad Palace Museum, Bangkok, Thailand
The Hellfire Pass Museum was ranked the fifth in Asia along with other museums in Japan, Malaysia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Commenting on the listing, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said, “Thailand’s museums have undergone a major upgrade in recent years, and we are glad to see that this is being recognised by the thousands of travellers who post reviews on prestigious global travel websites; such as, TripAdvisor.
“Clearly, this will go a long way towards promoting the popularity of Thai museums and increasing the average length of stay in the country. This specific award will also help boost the profile of Kanchanaburi on the international map.”
The Hellfire Pass Museum’s website says it was built by the Office of Australian War Graves in a joint venture between the Australian Government and the Royal Thai Armed Forces Development Command and opened on 24 April, 1998. It is under the management of the Office of Australian War Graves.
It has about 200 square metres of exhibition area. The curating of the exhibits is of a very high standard and an audio tour is available. Overnight tours can be arranged with a pick-up from most Bangkok hotels. The Museum is open from 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. every day except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year Eve and New Year.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand’s third largest province located only 129 kilometres west of Bangkok, has many well-known historical sites, as well as waterfalls, caves pristine national parks, tranquil rivers, virgin forests, and several large reservoirs.
In World War II, the Japanese built a railway through the pass using forced labour, including Western prisoners of war. The notorious Death Railway passed through the town, near which stands the site of the Bridge on the River Kwai. Nearby the reconstructed bridge are monuments including an Allied War Cemetery and a war museum.